Many of you are feeling anxious stuck at home and doing your best to process the constant barrage of news and ever-changing information. This anxiety often stems from feeling helpless and out-of-control during this unprecedented time. Yesterday, I asked my 7th grader how she was coping since it has been over a month since school closed, volleyball practice and tournaments cancelled, and meet-ups with friends have been disallowed. Surprisingly, she said that she was fine, and while she would have liked to have traveled during Spring Break, she was was not sad nor anxious. She tells me that she sleeps at least 9 hours nightly, manages her online school and homework, works out daily with her volleyball team through Zoom, takes breaks to play her cello and to snack on a protein bar or fruit. She admits that she has more free time now to socialize on FaceTime, draw and paint, stream shows, and hang out with her sister. She also said that she is eating less on some days because she is less hungry. While I make sure that she is served three healthy meals daily, I have noticed that she will ask for a smaller serving or refuse dessert periodically. Extrapolating her routine for grown-ups, I would advise you to practice the following 7 habits daily to stay active and to maintain a semblance of order in your surroundings:
1. Maintain or improve your sleep schedule
2. Make Simple To-Do lists for work and home; tackle the To-Do List by order of importance or deadlines
3. Take breaks for 10 - 20 minutes to exercise or meditate
4. Plan your meals daily for variety and with portion control in mind
5. Schedule 20 - 30 minute to clean and tidy-up your space
6. Obtain news information on legitimate sites and limit screen time
7. Take time to read a book, play a game, or do something you enjoy
Personally, I am trying new recipes (I have learned to make yogurt with a mason jar and a small cooler) and adding a 10-minute workout using the stairs in our house. Did you know that waking up and down a flight of stairs for 10 minutes burns 45-91 calories?
Bottom line, we should all stay home to help flatten the COVID-19 rate of infection. And this time at home is an opportunity to instill healthy habits. Did you know that you can decrease COVID-19 complications and serious health risks by improving your lung capacity? Fredrik Karpe, professor of metabolic medicine at Oxford University, said, 'If you have a big belly, then when you lie down the weight of it pushes your diaphragm upwards, reducing lung volume. This virus is all about lung function.' Your lungs will have improved capacity after two weeks of increasing your walks/steps and decreasing your calorie intake daily in order to lose belly fat. Let's all try to do better one day at a time. What do you have to lose?